Lambert determined to ride out storm
Paul Lambert is facing up to one of the toughest chapters of his managerial career and insists he will not buckle under the rising pressure at Aston Villa.
Lambert is still feeling the disappointment of the club's embarrassing Capital One Cup semi-final defeat against Bradford City as he prepares for another stern examination against Millwall in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Friday night.
For the first time since replacing Alex McLeish in the summer, Lambert has heard the dissenting voices of angry supporters who are now questioning whether he is up to the task of steering Villa through such difficult times. But the club's players, including skipper Ron Vlaar, remain fully behind the manager.
Lambert has been given assurances from owner Randy Lerner that his position is safe, but defeat against the Championship side, followed by another defeat against Newcastle United on Tuesday, would intensify the discontent.
But Lambert insists the pressure is something he is thriving on and it will only spur him on to even greater efforts to keep Villa in the Premier League this season.
"In a stupid and roundabout way, you thrive on the pressure. It's nothing something I worry about, the pressure. I keep going. You like the pressure of trying to win," said Lambert.
"I think pressure is everything in football. You either thrive on it or you buckle under it and I am not going to buckle under it. I have been living with pressure most of my life, with the clubs that I have been at.
"This is a huge club. You should have pressure all the time with amount of people who come to watch it. You should have pressure on your shoulders anyway. It's not something I am going to buckle under. I could hide from it as a player.
"I have loved it for years. Does it affect me? Not really. The players and fans are my main concern. They are the most important people."
Lambert knows relegation from the Premier League would generate even more pressure, but with 15 games remaining and seemingly very little to spend to strengthen the squad this month, he insists his players will fight tooth and nail to keep the club in the top flight.
"You don't want to go down by any stretch, no chance. Absolutely no chance. What you are asking me about relegation a load of other managers are being asked the same thing," he added.
"There are a lot of teams in this situation. We know we have to fight like hell to get out of this situation. You roll up your sleeves and get on with it, or you just roll over – and we're not going to roll over."